Protect Your Brand!

9

Greetings from my father’s store in New Hampshire. I am in the region doing some research for my Lowell.com website which should launch in a couple of months, and I am spending the day with my parents (Happy Birthday, Mom!!) Of course, my mind is always thinking about domain names, and that was clear when I walked into the book shop next door to buy a birthday gift.

At the register, I noticed that they were directing people to their website, which wasn’t close to the exact name of their shop. Knowing the manager, I asked if they had tried to acquire the generic .com for the store (a generic word + Bookshop). He said they had, but it was too expensive. Ironically, after coming back and researching, I saw the generic name is owned by a friend of mine, and I know my friend develops all his names (hence the reason for the high cost he quoted).

I also asked if he bought the actual name of the book shop, as that would also have been an even better choice. He said he hadn’t, but when I searched, I saw it was registered back in August and is now a PPC landing page. Unfortunately, the owner has privacy protection on his Whois so it won’t even be possible to ask if he would sell it, leaving them with the choice of either maintaining the status quo or filing a UDRP. The name of the store is fairly unique and the only Google references for the term together are for this little shop.

The shop has been in business for over 15 years, so there were plenty of opportunities for them to buy the name, but they didn’t have the foresight to do so. They are lucky the current owner has a book related PPC landing page rather than adult-related material. The moral of the story is to spend $8 to register the name of a potential new business or idea. The cost of acquiring it after someone else buys it can be financially restrictive and time consuming.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Before I launched my PostFoetry.com blog, I registered all the major TLD’s, including that lame .tv, and directed them to my blog.

    Thanks, Elliot, for reminding me because I hadn’t done this for my msdomainer.com blog; as I become more active in this biz, it will be important to protect my domaining identity. Now it’s taken care of.

    Best,
    Ms. Domainer

  2. I had NOT signed up postfoetry.tv or postfoetry.mobi because my former registrar did not reg these TLD’s. Fortunately, they were still available, even though that blog is getting more active each day.

    As a relative newbie, I really appreciate these reminders.

    Thanks again.

    Ms Domainer

  3. Hi Elliot,

    Just wanted to clear up a misconception regarding domain privacy. In most cases there is a unique email address displayed on the whois record but behind the scenes the domain owner can(and in most cases will) elect to have mail redirected to a valid email address and often he will respond to inquiries or atleast will receive them.

    Keep up the good work!

    WeBuyThe.com

  4. Elliott,

    I’m curious regarding your dev efforts for Lowell.com. Will you be making it blog, CMS or static HTML based? How about planned revenue sources? Would love to hear a bit more about your plans.

    ***UPDATED BY ELLIOT***

    Hi Pat,

    This is going to be a full development project, which will hopefully appeal to city residents and visitors. The website will be static HTML based with a great deal of content about the city. The site will be supported by advertisers, who will benefit from the traffic it receives. Even as is, the site receives a few thousand unique visitors a month.

  5. Elliot,

    This is just a little bit off. Lets see if I understand the facts correctly:

    1) There is a little bookstore with a unique name.
    2) Someone registered that unique name as a .com domain.
    3) That domain has a book sales related PPC page.

    And you say it is “fortunate” that it is a book related PPC page and not adult material?

    I say the opposite.

    If a user goes to this domain and finds porn, they’ll likely realize they are on the wrong website.

    However, if a user goes to this site, looking for the book store, and finds links to other book stores, then the little book store in Nashua may have either a) just lost a sale, or b) someone would look at a PPC page (which are usually terrible web pages) and think “that bookstore must suck, look at these worthless links that just lead me down rabbit holes.”

    I realize that having respect for IP rights is taboo in the domainer community, but the person who owns that domain is making money off of that book store’s name. That is certainly bad faith use and bad faith registration. I’m a bit taken aback that you would simply count the book store lucky, and criticize them for not having the foresight to register their domain name.

    A business shouldn’t have to let the actions of an unethical cybersquatter dictate where and when it establishes its online presence.

    • I disagree with your assessment that “respect for IP rights is taboo in the domainer community.” There are plenty of people that are careful not to infringe on another company’s mark or take action when they accidently acquire an infringing domain name. On a personal note, check out this post: https://www.domaininvesting.com/index.php/do-the-right-thing . As a follow-up on this, I ended up calling the attorney of record on the TM and gave them the domain name for free. As a courtesy, the company sent me a number of their products.

      Anyway… I do agree that the registration is in bad faith, and I believe they would easily win a UDRP. However, I know they wouldn’t pay $1k+ for the filing plus legal fees. I still think they are lucky, because in this conservative small town (near Nashua), it would have caused an uproar if someone navigated to the website and found porn.

  6. There aren’t just “plenty” of people who are careful, there are MANY who are careful and responsible.

    I’m not saying that the domainer community isn’t, for the most part, responsible. I am saying that any time anyone advocates for responsibility, there is a virtual shout down.

    I see how you think they are lucky — now I get it. Still, I think that I’d hope you would see the book store as the victim here, and see how the squatter’s actions wind up being bad for the domaining industry at large.

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